Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Staufen and ...

We went to Staufen, been before, it’s a pretty little town, quite touristy, but it's a town we like. Had an excellent lunch at Fauststube Löwen www.fauststube-im-loewen.de pictures are good in the link and there is an English button.

Now that's a roof! It's the top of the Rathaus or City Hall
Pretty statue in the main square, red building is the restaurant and guest house.
Little bird on a chair, happens frequently.
Another frog, this one with a crown, Christoph in the background
What is it with this area of Germany and statues of frogs? The restaurant had multiples of them too and my previous post had them in the store. 

Most of the grapes are harvested now, the patches of red grapes can clearly be seen amongst the green ones, the leaves are bright red. The corn fields are cut, there are still flowers in the “pick your own” places which are colourful to see.

We’ve been downtown most days last week and that is great but sometimes it just feels good to stay close to home. Finally we have an appointment for the trees to be picked up, that took three phone calls and the woman answering recognized me the last couple of times. Her comrade (which is what people say here for co-worker) was supposed to call with the date but didn’t. Weather is supposed to turn cold on Sunday so we need to put these trees to bed. Oranges off the one are not tasty Bruce says, rather sour, but the lemons are really lovely and so different, fresher tasting, than store bought. 

We made more soup yesterday, Bruce had a far more generous version in mind but I took some that we had made before potato, chicken stock based, from the freezer and added most of what he wanted. Turned out well and we have equal the amount of packets back in the freezer. It’s not a large freezer and we often out cook it’s capacity so give away quite a bit. 

Check, check, went to the store I visit annually for my 2018 Moleskin calendar, been using them for years now and they really work for me. Also bought Christmas cards although the selection isn’t quite there yet, still pleased with what I bought. 

Picked up our train tickets from the travel agent and had lunch at the Freiburger, a popular burger joint, then did our turtle act again in the sunshine. 

Our monthly tram passes had expired yesterday so I bought us eight trips each, you have to stamp the date and time at a machine on the tram, luckily we did because all fares were checked today and one fellow had trouble with the ticket agent right in front of Bruce but eventually produced a valid ticket. These agents are sometimes quite okay, just doing the job, others are assholes, excuse the language. The latter like the feeling of power over others and use it when they can to be mean. We talked about this, a monthly tram ticket is €51 , the fine for non-payment is €60, they do not check often so we wondered how many people ride for free and are willing to get that fine plus the embarrassment of being kicked off, probably quite a few I would think. Then I wonder if there is repercussion if you get kicked off more than once, do they keep records and check back? This being Germany, I would think so, sigh, more questions I have no answers for.

The fellows from the Stadtgärtenerei came to pick up our citrus trees on Thursday, friendly guys and commented on the view we have, one said “you get to wake up in the morning to "THIS” and he is right. 

I’ve been waiting for an order I placed end of April last year for underwear, boy shorts, too much information I know, but they are comfortable okay! I can’t find them here, or in Paris, Amsterdam, Sevilla, well any city, seem to be a North American thing. Order placed, takes at least a month to ship, didn’t get forwarded from Canada, our renter found them in our mail box, a box she doesn’t use. She forwarded them to me in Freiburg costing $45, and it took a month to arrive, except arrived at the customs office. Getting there is a real pain by transit so I splurged on a cab for €20 each way, duty of €13, expensive and time consuming goods! But worth it for me. I just wanted to get them before we go to Sevilla, now in hand, I’m happy, and the cab driver on the way played Flashdance on the radio as we were driving along, still remember that movie and like the music and dancing, wow, that’s been a long time.

Bruce bought spiced, dry roasted peanuts, have you ever had just one? Impossible! Good thing dinner tonight is a light one.

Met up with Adrienne and Jeffrey with Bruce this time, another very lively conversation and Mary Louise stopped by too, found out she’s a lawyer and works in a bank which probably explains her excellent English speaking. Jeffrey is originally from Toronto and has dual citizenship for USA. Adrienne is working through issues with her son.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beautiful Fall Weather

We’ve been very lucky weather wise, pretty warm and certainly sunny, I consider each good day a gift this time of year.

Took Christoph and his son to lunch at Mahatma Gandhi Saturday for good, spicy Indian food. The son said he liked hanging with us to experience new foods and practice his English. He speaks English well, hesitates on some words, but also understands most of what we say and asks if he doesn’t, truly does want to learn. He’s a polite teenager around us but his father has told us he has typical teenage foibles. 

Sunday and I spill wine on my computer, darn it!!! Of course it doesn’t work so it’s off to the computer store we go on Monday. We’d both be really rich people if we could find a fix to spills on computers but they aren’t ever covered under any warranty, human error. I wanted the exact same gold coloured MacBook which they didn’t have in stock so ordered for me, came in Wednesday so we picked it up, need to go back for the backup on Friday. So shiny new computer with a right shift key that works and no sticky space bar which I was willing to live with but this way I can type much faster and more accurately, bonus! Plus I am writing again which I’ve missed doing. Thankfully Dawna left me a paperback novel which has held my attention nicely.

Newly restored building downtown.
After the store we stopped at a cafe we haven’t been to for a long while and had an excellent lunch at Cafehaus. A lady next to us had a very big, beautiful Newfoundlander dog, black and white while usually they are brown and white, it was gorgeous and well mannered. Huge paws on it and a sunny disposition, just a pleasure to see.  Bruce paid the bill with a 50 Euro bill and received back two twenties with the change, hey, that’s not right, so we call over our waiter and give him back the extra 20. He was very pleased and because we figured it might come out of his wages and didn’t want that to happen even though his error. This square is a through point for many University students to walk or ride to reach the University, always lots of people going by. Nice day out too so it was a lovely time of good food, people and dog watching and sitting under horse chestnut trees. We have to grab those days while the weather still is cooperative, but in three weeks we’ll be back in sunny Sevilla which can be cool but is usually sunny.

Next door I checked out a unique store, held products from India and China I think, had a yoga theme with small statues of gold frogs in the lotus position and looking happy or smug depending on how you read them. 

Read about this gate in the following link, one of two, this is Martinstor (Martins gate)

Bruce took his wheels in to get new wheels and other minor adjustments done. He now has four shiny new wheels and doesn’t bob all over the place on cobblestones. His bar at the back to carry luggage and the shopping cart has also been firmed up which is helpful to us both. That bar has been a godsend for me so I’m not dragging two large suitcases across long lines to trains or in the airport. We have learned over time to let the bike take as much weight as possible and it really helps.

Met Christoph at Milano, Italian restaurant after looking for the lady who sells dried fruit at the Munstermarkt, wasn’t there, was on Saturday.That market smells so wonderful as I’ve said so many times before, I do wish there was a small app I could use to give you a scent of it. 

Munster spire, almost restored after years of painstaking effort!
Twin towers attached to it.
The mesh you are seeing in the two photos above is because I took the pictures from the balcony of a department store next door.

There were a lot of police downtown on Thursday 12th, walking around in pairs and threes, there wasn’t a game happening but it was noticeable and I don’t know why, we went down on Saturday and didn’t see any. These anomalies make me curious and I really have no way of finding out about them.

I visited the local ophthalmologist shop with the idea that I wanted new glasses, he’s always been good to us but haven’t seen him for a couple of weeks, maybe on holidays. Looking, I or we, didn’t find anything that struck us both in frames and since Bruce has to look at me daily, his opinion is important! The clerk there cleaned my current glasses with a “sonic bath” and they are much improved, brighter than ever and aside from checking the prescription I may not need new ones after all. Will look in Sevilla and expect to find cheaper frames and more colourful perhaps.

Downtown to the Munstermarkt and it is Saturday, lovely warm day so extremely busy. We sat in a cafe for a drink, away from the maddening crowds but could watch from our seats. Bruce knocked over his drink before getting a sip of it, there was just a sip left. Good thing there were no computers in the way! Lunch was doner kebab where they shave off the meat, we didn’t want too much so just shared one. 

Just added to show some lovely architecture!
Weird thing today, they are running sets of trams instead of singles out our way and we can’t figure out why. Nice day out though, fall colour everywhere and brilliant sunshine. 

Sunday and we’re back downtown but a much less packed city, lots of people travelling seen because we were next to the train station in the theatre district. We ordered a chicken salad from Divan, a Turkish restaurant we have gone to before, ordered it for take away and enjoyed a glass of wine while people and dog watching.

Zwiebelkuchen is Onion Cake, a dish that is served in the Fall in south Germany so I tried a piece from our local bakery. Some versions have ham or bacon in them, mine was plain. I liked the topping but not the crust, to describe it better, it’s basically an onion quiche, doubt it will become a favourite.

We've really enjoyed this fall in Freiburg, weather has been fantastic, warm enough without a coat, even some people are still wearing shorts!

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hello  Friends,

We had a very nice sunny day, the day I last posted, so we checked out the new restaurant that Shalimar was in, still missing it, but Sally’s has a wide menu of many types of cuisine. That usually bothers me, thinking how can they do justice to all the different cuisines with their varied spices and methods of cooking so I played it safe and ordered a chicken salad which was good. May try the buffet next time, costs 6,00 Euros for lunch and my peering in the pots showed a variety of interesting looking food, cheap enough. They were quite busy and surprise, the fellow who used to be at Ciao Bella was there. Menu had some similarities to that one too, names for kids food, of course I’m curious now, did they have a falling out? Did Ciao Bella put in an additional restaurant with different food on offer? Questions I have no answers for yet. They advertise Oriental and Italian cuisine.

Both low energy on a gorgeous sunny day, plans to go to the Mundenhof or downtown to the munstermarkt shelved and we sit in the sun at a cafe. We did cook up a batch of stewed tomatoes, yummy and we are settling in, now to get out and book meets with friends. We meet Christoph tomorrow and go to look for a bike for me. I want three wheeled, foldable and electric to give me that extra bit of push when I need it. 

We’ve just been catching up, cooking and enjoying the sunny weather here in Freiburg, nothing too exciting to write about.

I had lunch with Jeffrey and Adrienne on Tuesday Sept 26 at Edo’s Hummus, a vegetarian restaurant downtown. http://edoshummus.com/en/freiburg/ Very successful one if the clientele were indication, lots of them. It is self serve and the food is great. I was introduced to Jeffrey from blogger Ali Garland and hadn’t met him until today. Adrienne, I met in the Spring and we connected very well. I also met Mary Louise who stopped by on her way to meet her son, she’s an intelligent woman too. I do appreciate being able to make friends this way and Thank you Ali for introducing us. 

Bruce found this on BBC and, as you probably know of me, I keep my political opinions to myself but this fellow’s speech is how I view a near perfect world. The first link is what happened in the US Air Force academy, the second link is Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria’s response in which both Bruce and I really respect and admire the words of his speech, you’ll need to turn on the sound, it’s worth it!

What prompted the speech in the next link http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41419905

If you choose not to follow the links, the message is to treat people with respect and dignity no matter their gender, colour of skin, or ethnicity. Honestly, I wasn’t raised that way, my parents had prejudices to the couple of ethnic groups that were located around Victoria where we lived. A good friend in my early twenties, a whole lot more worldly than I was, questioned me and great discussions came of it between us. Due to those discussions, sometimes arguments, she opened my mind up to other possibilities and experiences. I do not blame my parents for their somewhat narrow view of those people who lived around them, they both had bad experiences in business with the “rotten apples”, so while I understood, I moved forward to not “paint” those groups and any other with the same brush. My viewpoint now is to look for the good but not be innocent, there are still a lot of bad people out there by whatever influence they have lived through. 

Meet every individual and ask yourself are you a person I would like as a friend or a person I want to avoid… Off the soapbox.

We haven’t been downtown as much as previous times, but decided to meet Christoph on a Saturday for lunch. 
Lovely fall display!
Met him in front of the Munster Cathedral and all wanted to escape to a less busy place soonest, many tour groups were in that day. http://www.freiburgermuenster.info/html/content/muenster962.html?& (fantastic pictures on the website)

St. George and his slain dragon, all gussied up, they have finished restoring the statue.

We went to an Indian food restaurant we hadn’t been to before and frankly won’t again. Setting is nice, in an enclosed outside patio. The food certainly wasn’t bad but we all agreed they had "dumbed or numbed” it down for a typical German palate. What I mean by that, is Germans tend to like simple food, cooked well, without much spice, it’s just the way it’s done here, especially in a smaller town like Freiburg. Our fav Indian restaurant closed here in Rieselfeld as I posted but the sister restaurant is just as good and spicier than the one we went to today, more “Indian” which as I’ve also said can mean different food due to the large country and different areas within. That was not the case here, just not enough spice! Bring on the spice! 

After we went to Schlappen for a drink just to people watch, being Saturday and Oktoberfest there were men in lederhosen and women in dirndls and other traditional costumes. We also saw men wearing a black suit with hat and flared bottom pants, we used to call them bell bottoms (really showing  my age here!) Looking it up and I couldn’t find any reference so asked Christoph. These fellows are learning carpentry and travel all over Germany to do so, they used to walk but now hitchhike or take trains, nomadic carpenters, who knew?

In Paris you are somewhat identified to be a local if you carry a baguette, mostly from a bakery rather than the grocery store, Eric Nicol, Canadian humour author, said a French baguette is flavoured with garlic and armpit. Here in Freiburg you are identified as a local if you carry a Stefan’s box of cheesecake. I’ve mentioned both before but hadn’t connected the two.

Drive through the Kaiserstuhl to Bahlingen and Landgasthof zum Lamm restaurant which is a favourite of ours. Waitresses recognized us and asked after our health. Portions here are even bigger than usual I think and even Christoph couldn’t finish his, all zum mit nehmen (for take home). I had a schnitzel since I hadn’t had one on this trip yet and knew it would be well done here and it was truly delicious. Driving back to Freiburg we went through many small villages, as we do, but Christoph took us through different ones. This afternoon has that photographer’s light about although sorry to say I didn’t take any pictures, it had rained earlier and everything sparkled. I saw a statue of a cat on a fence that looked a bit like Lexi; a hawk sitting on a post, lots of tall sunflowers and flowered window boxes, corn has been harvested but the stalks are there. This is mainly apple and squash season, trees were full of apples and squash of all types lined people’s driveways, both were on many stands for sale to the passerby, same stands that sell the asparagus and strawberries in the spring time. This is October 2nd, German Unification Day, public holiday although nothing too much happens in the way of celebration except we passed by a couple of wine festivals, me passing wine festivals? Say it isn't so, but was.

Dawna and Erwin left us these! So now you can enjoy them as I have.

All for now, Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to you!